Skip Content

How Sense International is supporting equality this International Women’s Day

8 March 2020

A young boy sitting on his mother's lap, who is sitting on a sofa. He is holding a sensory toy.Today is International Women’s Day, a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political contributions of women. This year’s theme is ‘Each for Equal’, highlighting the message that “an equal world is an enabled world”.

Sense International staff are trained to support women and girls with deafblindness, so they are treated equally, and gender equality is an integral part of the design, delivery and evaluation of our projects. 

In all our countries, we work to ensure that girls’ right to health and education is realised, and we support young women to learn vocational skills for economic empowerment and independent living. We also support mothers who face a lot of stigma and discrimination and who end up doing the lion’s share of caring for children with disabilities.

To mark International Women’s Day, we are sharing the stories of some of the women and girls being supported by Sense International Kenya.

Supporting girls like Charity when they are young gives them the best chance to reach their full potential. Supporting mothers like Linet and Naomi builds their confidence, enables them to work and contribute to their community, and to help change attitudes towards people with disabilities.

Charity’s story

Three-year-old Charity has cerebral palsy and partial blindness. A culture of stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities in parts of Kenya makes life difficult for families caring for disabled children.

Charity’s mother, Linet, heard about the screening and early intervention service which supported families like hers. Sense International Kenya’s team diagnosed Charity and quickly started a programme of specialist therapy.

Linet says: “I am appreciative of the support Sense International has provided to my child. She has improved so much and the therapy sessions are so much fun.” Linet is proud of the progress her daughter is making and is finally beginning to look to the future with hope.

Naomi and Bravin’s story

Naomi’s three-year-old son Bravin was born blind with complex needs.In parts of Kenya, a culture of stigma and discrimination against people with disabilities has led to pressure on families to give up their children to orphanages.

Naomi was adamant that she wouldn’t leave her son and, as a result, Bravin’s father abandoned them. Very soon, Naomi’s friends also distanced themselves from the family.

Fortunately, Naomi found the support she needed when a nurse introduced her to the Sense International Kenya team at her local health clinic.

Naomi says: “Meeting the Sense International Kenya team was a game-changer for me. The therapist at the clinic counselled me out of depression and helped me accept my son for the way he is.”

A support group, which Naomi continues to attend, provides an environment for Naomi to meet with other mothers and for them to share their experiences of raising their children.

For two-and-a-half years, Bravin has benefited from therapy, learning to explore his surroundings and communicate with his mother. The family were also visited by a Sense International Kenya trained occupational therapist, who supported Bravin to learn how to walk without support.

Naomi says: “I could not have afforded his therapy or this support. If it were not for Sense International Kenya, Bravin would not be what he is today.”

Please support our Chance To Shine Appeal

Between 1 January and 31 March, Sense International’s Chance To Shine appeal is raising money to fund sight and hearing tests for children in rural Kenya and support those children identified with deafblindness. The appeal will help families like Charity’s and Bravin’s in rural Kenya.

Donations made between 1 January and 31 March will be matched pound for pound by the UK government, doubling the impact of your support for some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.

First published: Tuesday 18 June 2013
Last updated: Friday 6 December 2019